Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took a chopper to Delhi this morning to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi amid infighting within the party’s state unit, ahead of the assembly elections due next year.
His meeting with the Congress chief comes just days after Navjot Singh Sidhu, his biggest rival and critic, met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in Delhi.
Last week, Captain Amarinder Singh had met with a three-member panel appointed by Sonia Gandhi to recommend a solution to the Punjab feud. He, however, left Delhi without any meeting with the Gandhis.
Amid the Congress’s attempts to bring the Chief Minister on board with a formula that would require Mr Sidhu to be accommodated in a top post in Punjab, today’s meeting could be key, sources have suggested.
In his tweets this morning, Mr Sidhu yet again raised the issue of Punjab’s power crisis even before the Chief Minister reached Delhi. Faulty power purchase agreements (PPAs) “have cost people of Punjab thousands of crores”, he stressed.
“Punjab has paid Rs 3,200 crore just as coal-washing charges due to faulty replies to pre-bid queries before signing PPAs. Private Plants keep finding loopholes to file litigation that has cost Punjab Rs 25,000 crore already,” one of his tweets read.
Badal-signed PPAs are looting Punjab & legal options against them are limited due to their protection from Hon’ble Courts. Only way forward is “New Legislation in Punjab Vidhan Sabha” with retro-effect capping power purchase prices to make the anti-people agreements redundant 1/2
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 5, 2021
These PPAs are just another example of Badal Family’s corruption, designed to give corrupt benefits to Badals… without any thought for welfare of Punjabis. Thus, Punjab is suffering today !! “New Legislation & White-Paper on PPAs in Vidhan Sabha” is our only path to Justice 6/6
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 6, 2021
Attacking the Akali Dal, and calling for a new law, he insisted: “Badal-signed PPAs are looting Punjab and legal options against them are limited due to their protection from honourable courts. Only way forward is “New Legislation in Punjab Vidhan Sabha” with retro-effect capping power purchase prices to make the anti-people agreements redundant. (sic)”
Electricity supply has emerged as a huge political issue in Punjab ahead of polls.
The Chief Minister last week assured the power purchase agreements signed during the earlier Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP regime are under review and the government will soon announce its legal strategy to counter the agreements.
With elections just months away, the state government is also dealing with protests by opposition parties. On Monday, water cannons were used against BJP youth workers protesting outside the Chief Minister’s house over the issue of drug abuse.
Last week, hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party workers led by Punjab AAP chief Bhagwant Mann – protesting at Amarinder Singh’s Mohali residence – faced water cannons.